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Minimum wage: Labour threatens fresh nationwide strike

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“If nothing is responsibly done by the Federal Government to meet our demands, on Monday, the 6th day of November, we shall embark on a nationwide strike”

James Ojo, Abuja

The trade union movement, yesterday, accused the Buhari government of littering the path to a new minimum wage with betrayal, resistance, half-truths and therefore vowed to ground the nation by November 6, if a minimum wage bill of N30,000 is not before the National Assembly for passage into law.

READ ALSO: Minimum wage: FG threatens labour

“If nothing is responsibly done by the Federal Government to meet our demands, on Monday, the 6th day of November, we shall embark on a nationwide strike to compel this government to show more sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians and the suffering that is decimating our people on daily basis,” presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, Trade Union Congress (TUC) Bobboi Bala Kaigama and United Labour Congress (ULC) Joe Ajaero said in a statement.

Organized labour insisted that it was not true that N30,000 was proposed as the new national minimum wage, neither was it true that the committee did not agree on a figure during its last sitting.

“We accepted N30,000 as a compromise to demonstrate the willingness of Nigerian workers to make sacrifices towards nation building. Anything to the contrary, no matter the quantum and character
of the din or how well couched it may appear, cannot be true. Resorting to Goebbelsianism at this time of national emergency which requires men and women of integrity is rather unfortunate and cannot suddenly make the brazen falsehoods truths,” the Labour leaders said.

They tasked the Organized Private Sector (OPS) as represented in the Tripartite Committee to speak the truth of what transpired in the rescheduled meeting before the Labour Minister came out to announce that no agreement was reached on the figure of a new minimum wage.

READ ALSO: Lending: OPS laments government’s crowding out of private sector

“Keeping silent in the face of this apparent mischief does our nation no good. It can only help mischief, dishonesty and impunity to grow. At this time the OPS does not have any other choice but to rise to the occasion by telling Nigerians what transpired in the meeting.

“They (OPS) should tell Nigerians whether there was a motion that was seconded on a final figure; whether there was a document signaling this agreement that had already been signed by some parties because the N30,000 figure was ours or a compromise figure based on proposed scenarios,” they argued.

The labour leaders foreclosed reopening negotiation on a figure for the new minimum wage since an agreement had been reached during the last sitting of the tripartite committee.

“We cannot continue discussing a figure that has already been agreed procedurally within the Committee. What we are waiting for is for the Federal Government to immediately set in motion the necessary machinery for turning the agreement into a Bill for onward submission to the NASS where we expect the Presidency to work together with the Legislators to make it a law so that it can be implemented. quickly.”

Labour decried government moves to intimidate and cow the trade union movement and its leadership in a bid to subjugate the will of Nigerian workers over the national minimum wage, noting that the pronouncements of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as it concerned trade union operations in the country were unfortunate.

READ ALSO: FEC approves N5.202b road contract in Sokoto

“We see it as another step down the road to fascism as this Government continues to demonstrate high-handedness and rabid insensitivity to the plight of the citizens and any other, a nation where governments owe its workforce several months in arrears of unpaid salaries has not sought ways to eliminate it is rather seeking ways to gag same workers from protesting this crime against them and their families. It is akin to beating a child and denying him the right to cry.”

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